LES LOUVRE DE PABLO PICASSO
They loved and influenced each other, fell out and made up again. The exhibition Les Louvre de Pablo Picasso tells the story of an encounter between two titans: on the one hand, one of the most famous artists of all time, and on the other, one of the greatest museums in the world. Picasso and the Louvre, the Louvre and Picasso – this tumultuous relationship, which has lasted for more than a century, has marked the histories of the artist and of the museum. Featuring a double itinerary, with more than 450 works and documents, mixing paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, engravings, photographs and archives, the exhibition looks at this unusual story. It offers a new perspective on Picasso, the man and the artist, as well as on the Louvre.
The Louvre’s influence on Pablo Picasso’s work grew out of a succession of encounters. From his very first visit in 1900 up until the exhibition devoted to his own works in 1971, the museum occupied a unique place in the artist’s life and imagination. The echoes between Picasso’s creations and paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and objets d’art conserved at the Louvre reveal how much the museum served as a major source of inspiration for him.
From one period to the next, Picasso could count on the confidence and support of big admirers at the museum, but he also had to deal with the scepticism of powerful detractors. In many respects, the relationship between the Louvre and the man who left it his personal collection of ancient and modern works was a passionate succession of high-level encounters, dotted with a few missed opportunities.
The exhibition explores the fertile dialogue between Picasso’s work and the Louvre’s collections and history, as well as the links, from the 1930s, that the museum was keen to develop with the artist and his work.
The exhibition’s design revolves around an interplay of comparisons, thanks to a dual structure presenting, on the one hand, the Louvre departments that Picasso frequented and, on the other, a chronology of this passionate relationship. In addition to juxtapositions of works, the exhibition spotlights archive documents that reveal the moments when Picasso was, in a sense, at home in the Louvre and also when the Louvre invited itself into Picasso’s.
It offers a different perspective on the construction of a myth in an interplay of reciprocal passion, and at the same time reveals another facet of the Louvre’s history. When a giant from the history of art met another giant, the Musée du Louvre, it gave rise to moments in life – sometimes trivial, sometimes historic – as well as inspired, majestic creations that are sometimes provocative and sometimes intimate.
Exhibition organised with the support of the du Musée National Picasso-Paris.
Dimitri Salmon, curatorial collaborator of the Département des Peintures at the Musée du Louvre
Scénografiá (Valentina Dodi and Nicolas Groult)